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Pat Robertson challenges creationism
Pat Robertson: "There was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible."
November 29th, 2012
04:04 PM ET

Pat Robertson challenges creationism

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Televangelist Pat Robertson challenged the idea that Earth is 6,000 years old this week, saying the man who many credit with conceiving the idea, former Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher, “wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years.”

The statement was in response to a question Robertson fielded Tuesday from a viewer on his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 Club.” In a submitted question, the viewer wrote that one of her biggest fears was that her children and husband would not go to heaven “because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.”

“You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas,” Robertson said. “They're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible.”

Before answering the question, Robertson acknowledged the statement was controversial by saying, “I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this.”

“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded.

Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June. That number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, since 1982, when Gallup first asked the question on creationism versus evolution.

The Gallup poll has not specifically asked about views on the age of the Earth.

Ussher’s work, from the mid-1600s, is widely cited by creationists as evidence that Earth is only a few thousand years old. Answer in Genesis, the famed Christian creationist ministry behind the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, cites Ussher as proof of Earth’s age. They describe the archbishop as “a brilliant scholar who had very good reasons for his conclusions concerning the date of creation.”

For Christians who read the creation account in Genesis literally, the six days in the account are strictly 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution. Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth, and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

Most scientists, however, agree that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 billion years old.

The idea of creationism has been scorned by the mainstream scientific community since shortly after Charles Darwin introduced "The Origin of Species" in 1859. By 1880, The American Naturalists, a science journal, reported nearly every major university in America was teaching evolution.

The question about Earth’s age has been in the news recently. Earlier this month, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida attempted to walk the line between science and faith-based creationism in remarks that that provoked the ire of liberal blogs and left the door open to creationism.

“I'm not a scientist, man,” Rubio told GQ’s Micheal Hainey. “I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.”

– CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Creationism • Evangelical • Evolution

soundoff (4,401 Responses)
  1. jomamaxx

    'Creationism' does not mandate that the earth was created 6K years ago – that's just what a small group of narrow minded religionists in America believe – and CNN, being the dirty communists that they are way to perpetuate the myth that this is what Christians believe.

    It was a Priest, Father David LeMaitre who conceived of the 'Big Bang' – and the Catholic Church has supported this for a long time.

    But don't let the facts get in the way of CNN bigotry.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      you are the one thats lying.
      for starters calling cnn communists......for that, get a life, really.
      secondly at no point in the article did they claim all christians think that. in fact they eve said 'Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June' .....see that? 46%.

      if you keep bearing false witness like that you will end up somewhere warm when you die you know.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  2. DustyOnes

    I know of no Christian that believe the would is 6,000 years old. Where do these atheist get this stuff. Fr. Georges Lamaitre, the Father of the Big Bang Theory (and a Catholic Priest), debunked this in the 1900's

    November 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • jomamaxx

      Don't bother.

      CNN wants everyone to think that Christians are crazy, irrational lunatics.

      CNN are huge bigots.

      I'm Christian, I have a degree in Applied Science and see ZERO contradiction between spirituality and Science. Frankly, the material laws of the Universe as discovered by Science are 'God's Law' if anything. To go against hard Science is to go against 'God's Law' – to put it crudely.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      they get it from the poll that said.....
      'Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June'

      now i am sorry that you think that poll means you believe atheists are making such claims up but you really should talk to those people that answered that poll about that.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  3. I Am God

    Hey HMS how old are you? 11? 12? Obviously you haven't grown old enough to understand sarcasm.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  4. jake1969

    Robertson has made more and more sense as he's aged. I used to think he was a bit of a kook, but he's shown he continues to grow and expand in his golden years. I give him credit. He's come out quite supportive of environmental initiatives in recent years and even called the prohibition of pot nonsense. Good for Robertson! Billy Graham also got more enlightened as he aged. To me, spiritual leaders who continue to evolve and grow are far more advanced than fire and brimstone simpletons who preach the same nonsense all their lives and ignore reality.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  5. dieseltdi

    Good god, hell has finally frozen over. I thought it would take that before someone in his position would finally admit that the Bible doesn't tell the whole story and the Archbishop Usher was wrong. Maybe there is hope for this country yet. Sooner or later, the troglodytes that make up a large percentage of the US population will finally HAVE to admit that you cannot ignore science just because you disagree with it.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  6. Chad

    @GOPer "Many Christians are not willing to apply critical thought to this question and blindly accept extrapolations (to use your terminology) handed down for centuries from pulpits. This is the problem."

    =>well...
    There are different ways to knowing the truth of the existence of the God of Israel and His Son Jesus, Historical/scientific as well as a metaphysical experience. Neither approach is superior to the other.

    Many people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ purely by experience with the living God. Christian theology clearly states that God lives within believers by the Holy Spirit, and this is a reality that Christians experience.

    Now, many Christians come to this saving knowledge, then start reading the bible in depth, and get scared, "what if the bible isnt inerrant?", "what if what the bible says isnt true?".
    now, these are irrational fears, but nevertheless, many people hold them.

    So, what happens is, people get locked on to a certain interpretation of scripture, because they feel it is the only one that they can reconcile with their reading of the bible, and their certain knowledge that Jesus Christ is real.

    They are very reluctant to dig in and get the real truth, because they are afraid that they will loose their faith. Again, it's an irrational fear, but many experience it nonetheless (atheists do a similar thing where they are terrified of digging into the bible and reading it.. in that case, the fear of loosing that faith is justified)

    so, in conclusion:
    A. The more a Christian does a critical analysis of the historicity of Christianity and it's foundations, the more their faith would grow, because Christianity is a reality and it can withstand any level of critical scrutiny.
    B. The fact that many people hold to (in my opinion) biblical interpretations that place them at odds with cosmology(age of the universe) and earth sciences(age of the earth, common ancestry), is unfortunate,
    but
    not nearly as unfortunate as atheists that cling to disbelief in the face of cosmology(origin of the universe) and earth sciences (origin of life on earth, rise in complexity of organisms) and history (the person of Jesus Christ)

    November 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Wrong. A critical an'alysis proves Saul of Tarsus cooked it all up, and it has almost nothing to do with what Yeshua taught. You practice Paulianity, Chadlet.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      My response to @Chad is in context on page 1.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'not nearly as unfortunate as atheists that cling to disbelief in the face of cosmology(origin of the universe) and earth sciences (origin of life on earth, rise in complexity of organisms) and history (the person of Jesus Christ)'

      sorry but what would science and cosmology refute that atheists would believe that they would 'cling to disbelief in the face of'?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Chad

      this one was posted to the wrong page..

      November 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @realbuckyball "Wrong. A critical an'alysis proves Saul of Tarsus cooked it all up, and it has almost nothing to do with what Yeshua taught."
      @Chad "and,,, where is that "critical analysis? :-)
      you're making stuff up..

      =============
      @cedar rapids "sorry but what would science and cosmology refute that atheists would believe that they would 'cling to disbelief in the face of'?"
      @Chad "origin of the universe, fine tuning of the universe for the building blocks of life, origin of life on earth, inability to come up with any explanation whatsoever for the fossil record which shows stasis and rapid change.

      November 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  7. Chuck

    This disconnect comes with trying to reconcile a 2000 year old book written by men who thought the earth was flat and the sun was a god with science and facts discovered over the last 400 years or so. It's the book that's the problem, not spirituality. Spirituality and science can co-exist. The bible and science can't.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  8. jomamaxx

    CNN lies again.

    'Creationism' does not imply the world was created 6K years ago. That form of creationism is beholden to a small group of narrow minded Americans.

    CNN wants to promote the bigoted view that this is all that Christianity is.

    Even the Catholic Church backs the Big Bang. The Big Bang was conceived of by a Priest – Father David Le Maitre!

    But don't let the facts get in the way of CNN's spin.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • sam

      Call Pat Robertson and set him straight.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • deadlyserious

      Creationism can and does imply that people believe in that idiotic tripe.

      "Intelligent Design' is the brand-new, shiny version of creationism, where they skim over all the biblical stuff, but basically say the exact same thing as creationists. Neither hypothesis (note that I didn't say "theory") has one shred of scientific evidence backing it up.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Chuck

      Not that I'm Catholic, but the Vatican even has it's own astronomer. I don't understand why those who believe can't also believe in science. The bible was not meant to be taken literally. It's a parable and the messages are allegory.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • jomamaxx

      Sorry, 'Deadly serious' – 'Creationism' does NOT in any way imply the Universe was 6K years old.

      I am a 'creationist' – and a Scientists – and I do not believe the world is 6K years old.

      As a Scientists – I'm also aware that the theory of evolution is woefully incomplete – a serious of random mutations against a randomly changing environment = a net random process. Net random processes to not create life.

      The notion that a pile of dust just 'randomly' turns into life as we know it is frankly – stupid.

      'Intelligent Design' is actually more rational that most ideas – though I don't believe it myself.

      There is much, much more to evolution that Science has posited thus far, most researchers would admit that.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      at no point in the article did they claim all christians think that. in fact they eve said 'Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June' .....see that? 46%.

      if you keep bearing false witness like that you will end up somewhere warm when you die you know.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  9. Russell Johnson

    It sounds like Robertson is questioning the age of the earth, not creationism. Two very different things.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  10. Justaguess

    "Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years"

    Only 46%. Meanwhile, the majority of Americans have brains. That's why the Republicans lost the election.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  11. Raka

    The headline states he is contesting creationism. He is not. He is contesting the time it took. CNN will lie even if the truth is a more fabulous story. I don't think CNN can help it. They do this on almost every thing they report. All of the press are liars. The truth is not in them. You have to double and triple check stories with different sources and you still probably won't have the truth.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  12. HMS Beagle

    46% believe that the Earth is about 10,000 years old and it has remained steady for the last 30 YEARS!

    ROFL! All the atheists attempts to kill god have been for naught...

    November 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • deadlyserious

      And you're celebrating the continuing ignorance of the American public because....

      November 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • I Am God

      Steady? MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Idiot. You do realize in the 90s it was over 50% in the United States right?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  13. jungleboo

    Man, these religious types change spots faster than the Sun itself! Oh well, religion is evaporating before our very eyes, and maybe that's their real Apocalypse. They get to see everything they ever built go down in flames. The book ORIGINS by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith is a treasure trove of fascinating info, in case you are wondering where it all started, but don't know where to look for answers.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Right for life

      As a Christian I can't say for certain exactly how old the earth, I can state empahtically God created the heavens and the Earth, and God will eventually destroy Earth.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  14. tkogrady

    Wow – Pat thinks his fellow Christians will "lynch" him for using reason and speaking his mind. Sad commentary on what he thinks of his fellow believers.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • sam

      30,000 different sects can cause some vehement disagreements.

      Sects and violence...

      November 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  15. christians are dumb

    it's impossible to advocate fiscal conservatism with these jack wagons all over the place

    November 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  16. Andrew

    The bible isn't a science book, nor is it a history book... Besides, it's not even an exclusively Christian book. Do the Jews believe this 6000 yr old age of the earth theory? If they don't, then by default it doesn't hold up in the bible as the old testament is based on Jewish texts and that's the only place where creation is mentioned...

    November 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Andrew,

      Ironically, Jews are far less likely than Evangelical Protestants to believe that the earth is <10,000 years old.

      There is no reason why a Christian cannot hold the viewpoint that the earth may be 4.5 billion years old AND profess a belief in God. Many, including most of 32% of Americans do.

      On the somewhat related topic of evolution the Pew Forum provided the following survey results in 2009:

      % who agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth:

      Total US population …….... 48%

      Buddhist ………………..... 81%
      Hindu ……………………... 80%
      Jewish ………………….... 77%
      Unaffiliated …….……….... 72%
      Catholic …………………... 58%
      Orthodox ……………........ 54%
      Mainline Protestant …….... 51%
      Muslim …………….............45%
      Historically black ……....... 38%
      Evangelical Protestant ...... 24%
      Mormon …………………... 22%
      Jehovah’s Witness ......… 08%

      November 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  17. modizzle18

    "Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years"

    Wow...

    November 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • TonyB

      You say "Wow", and I am actually someone who believes in evolution, but consider this. There is no evidence, zero, none at all that any one species has EVER evolved into a completely different species. No fossil record has ever shown that. There is no evidence of a fish evolving into a monkey evolving into a human. So if you are going to use science, then you cannot point to macro-evolution (evolution of species to species) as a scientific certainty. Micro-evolution (evolution from within a species) is a scientific fact.

      Something to consider before you start judging the opinions of others. I, however, find it more likely (not proven) that evolution from one species to another must have occurred somehow, but there is still no evidence of it.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  18. JR

    Sandra, by your spelling of "dessert dwellers", you mean the "People of the Cake" (as distinguished from the "People of the Book")?

    November 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  19. lols

    Science: cures polio, lets us videochat with people on the other side of the world, operates the international space station.........
    .
    The Bible: claims donkeys and snakes can talk, and a man lived in a fish for three days........

    November 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • HMS Beagle

      Science has claimed that the Earth was flat, that blood letting was a valid medical cure, metal could be turned into gold, etc...

      November 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Ken

      Beagle, science corrects itself. That's part of how it works. The buy-bull is supposed to be the inerrant word of goddie, yet it gets all kinds of shit wrong.

      How are those mustard seeds doing hey? Fed them to your talking virgin snakes?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • oh look its herbie/just sayin/chad/nope/etc etc etc

      YOU ARE FAIL

      November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • I Am God

      HMS Galileo first suggested the Earth may be round. The church told him no and called him a heretic.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Hey Beagle, you are referring to the beliefs of religious leaders who had a stranglehold on budding scientific awareness.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • HMS Beagle

      LOL, the oldest book of the Bible clearly states that the Earth is round, and names several constellations by name.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • I Am God

      HMS you do realize that the Bible has been changed multiple times over the centuries when new science has been accepted right?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Barry Yo

      Beagle, you can't scoop much lower. The old Testymint says the earth is both flat and round.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • KRHODES

      lols

      "Science: cures polio, lets us videochat with people on the other side of the world, operates the international space station.........
      .
      The Bible: claims donkeys and snakes can talk, and a man lived in a fish for three days........"

      And you believe that monkeys can talk, cure disease and even land on the moon.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • HMS Beagle

      Join me at the calf sacrifice at midnight. Gotta do it the bible says so.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @KRHODES

      You've proven time and time again that you don't know what you're talking about. Thank you for giving us yet another example.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • thade76

      Well HMS Beagle if that is how you want to invoke your evidence for god. Then god is a ever receeding pocket of scientific ignorance that is getting smaller and smaller. Now excuse us atheist, we are busy reducing child mortality and landing remote controlled robots on mars....I'll let you get back to flying planes into buildings.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • KRHODES

      Barry Yo

      "Beagle, you can't scoop much lower. The old Testymint says the earth is both flat and round."

      Now where does it say that? Certainly you can tell me the location of that info.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • PeriSoft

      @HMS Beagle

      "Science has claimed that the Earth was flat, that blood letting was a valid medical cure, metal could be turned into gold, etc..."

      Since you apparently believe that an incorrect past position of any discipline invalidates all of its current conclusions, no matter how well-researched or oft-proven, might I infer that you avoid modern medicine? Do you ever take an aspirin, and would you undergo open heart surgery? After all, it's the 'same people' that advocated blood letting, right?

      I mean, if you figure that all of modern biology and the vast majority of physics and geology is utterly incorrect – which is the only possible conclusion if you're a young-earther – then why should you 'believe in' heart surgery or antibiotics, which are on balance accepted with probably the same level of confidence as carbon dating and evolution?

      For that matter, your position would seem to imply that you also disown most of modern technology; after all, people had all sorts of absurd opinions about electricity, math, and any number of incorrect hypotheses in other areas which have subsequently been corrected and are now at the root of most of the technology we use now. Do you believe in the existence of LCD TVs, the internet, the telephone, fiber optics, quantum encryption, space travel, the compact disc...? If so, you're directly contradicting your own argument...

      November 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Actually the bible says the earth is a flat circle.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • KRHODES

      hawaiiguest

      "@KRHODES

      You've proven time and time again that you don't know what you're talking about. Thank you for giving us yet another example."

      Is that all you have?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • KRHODES

      PeriSoft

      "Since you apparently believe that an incorrect past position of any discipline invalidates all of its current conclusions, no matter how well-researched or oft-proven, might I infer that you avoid modern medicine? Do you ever take an aspirin, and would you undergo open heart surgery? After all, it's the 'same people' that advocated blood letting, right?"

      Ever heard of a strawman argument? That is exactly what you are making which is nothing new to atheist.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @KRHODES

      Oooh such an amazing comeback. That certainly defends your completely ignorant comment.
      /sarcasm

      November 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • leonid7

      KRHODES

      That's not actually a strawman argument, since Beagle has, in fact, inferred many times that science cannot be trusted due to previous mistakes.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • KRHODES

      hawaiiguest

      @KRHODES

      "Oooh such an amazing comeback. That certainly defends your completely ignorant comment.
      /sarcasm"

      Comeback to what? You never said anything of value...you just called me names. You just gave the typical atheist response.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @KRHODES

      Oh I called you names? Please, show me where I did that exactly.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • KRHODES

      leonid7

      KRHODES

      "That's not actually a strawman argument, since Beagle has, in fact, inferred many times that science cannot be trusted due to previous mistakes."

      Actually it is...he exaggerated beagles position by making ridiculous statements.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • leonid7

      No, he made ridiculous satirical SUGGESTIONS. That is not a strawman argument and at no time was it said that these are things that Beagle actually does. Therefore, an emphatic no that is not a strawman argument, and I would suggest you look the term up among other logical fallacies.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • leonid7

      Simply a satirical inference meant to be humurous. I would think you would notice the sarcasm.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • leonid7

      And a correct logical assessment that beagle would have contradicted his or her own argument.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • leonid7

      I suppose 'questions' would be better term than 'suggestions'.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  20. HMS Beagle

    I am sorry people, wake up from your fairy tales. There is no such thing as atheists....

    November 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • I Am God

      Sorry by you are definitely living in a fallacy world. I am an Atheist and will always be an Atheist

      November 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • HMS Beagle

      LOL, that's not true if your name is "God"...

      November 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • sam

      Still trying to decide if troll or Poe. Dedictated enough for a troll, over the top enough for a Poe. Will have to observe further.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • I Am God

      Obviously you are a child. You are definitely missing the point of why my name is "I Am God."

      November 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • HMS Beagle

      Well, you can't be God and not believe in yourself silly. Maybe you have multiple personalities??

      November 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • sam

      Ok, ok. It's a Poe.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • John A

      Atheism belief dies at death (either way you lose)

      November 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
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